Monday , September 25 2017
Home / AFRICA / Wreckage of EgyptAir plane found in Mediterranean

Wreckage of EgyptAir plane found in Mediterranean

FlightRadar24 image of EgyptAir flight route before it went down in the sea
FlightRadar24 image of EgyptAir flight route before it went down in the sea

Cairo, Egypt | AFP | SATURDAY

Wreckage including seats and luggage from EgyptAir Flight 804 were spotted in the eastern Mediterranean Friday as investigators tried to unravel why the plane turned sharply and plunged into the sea.

While Egypt’s aviation minister has pointed to terrorism as more likely than technical failure, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said there was “absolutely no indication” of why the plane went down.

“We’re looking at all possibilities,” he said, as reports indicated there had been smoke on board and an apparent problem with the flight control system just before it went down.

The disaster comes just seven months after the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by the Islamic State jihadist group over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula in October that killed all 224 people on board.

Families of the 66 people aboard the EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo gathered at a hotel near the Egyptian capital’s airport after meeting airline officials as they struggled to come to terms with the catastrophe.

“They haven’t died yet. No one knows. We’re asking for God’s mercy,” said a woman in her 50s whose daughter had been on board.

French investigators were due to meet their Egyptian counterparts in Cairo, while a French patrol boat carrying equipment capable of tracking the plane’s black boxes was expected on Sunday or Monday.

The plane disappeared between the Greek island of Karpathos and the Egyptian coast in the early hours of Thursday, without its crew sending a distress signal.

It had turned sharply twice before plunging 22,000 feet (6,700 metres) and vanishing from radar screens, said Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos.

The Wall Street Journal and CNN cited unnamed sources as saying the plane’s computer systems sent warning messages indicating smoke in the nose of the aircraft just before air traffic controllers lost contact.

The messages indicated intense smoke in the front portion of the plane. The error warnings also indicated that the flight control computer malfunctioned, the Journal report said.

It said the information was insufficient to determine whether the plane was brought down by a bomb or other causes.

Boy, babies on board

Philip Baum, the editor of Aviation Security International Magazine, told the BBC that technical failure could not be ruled out.

“There was smoke reported in the aircraft lavatory, then smoke in the avionics bay, and over a period of three minutes the aircraft’s systems shut down,” he said.

“That’s starting to indicate that it probably wasn’t a hijack, it probably wasn’t a struggle in the cockpit, it’s more likely a fire on board. Now whether that was a technical fire, a short circuit, or whether it was because a bomb went off on board, we don’t know.”

Greek civil aviation chief Constantinos Litzerakos said the pilot had mentioned no problem in his last communication.

“The flight controllers contacted the pilot at a height of 37,000 feet… he did not mention a problem,” he said.

Personal belongings and parts of the Airbus A320 were spotted by search teams scouring seas off Egypt’s northern coast about 290 kilometres (180 miles) from the city of Alexandria, the military said.

Kammenos said the teams, which include multinational aircraft and ships, had found “a body part, two seats and one or more items of luggage”.

The passengers included 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, two Iraqis, two Canadians, and citizens from Algeria, Belgium, Britain, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. They included a boy and two babies.

Seven crew members and three security personnel were also on board.

The discovery of the wreckage came after the European Space Agency said one of its satellites had on Thursday spotted an oil slick about 40 kilometres southeast of the plane’s last known location.

In October, foreign governments issued travel warnings for Egypt and demanded a review of security at its airports after the Islamic State group said it downed the Russian airliner over Sinai with a bomb concealed in a soda can that had been smuggled into the hold.

IS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces and has claimed attacks in both France and Egypt.

********

Wreckage of EgyptAir plane found in Mediterranean
Cairo, Egypt | AFP | FRIDAY

Egypt’s military found wreckage Friday from the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean as investigators tried to unravel the mystery of why it swerved suddenly and plummeted into the sea.

Search teams spotted personal belongings of passengers and parts of the Airbus A320 about 290 kilometres (180 miles) north of Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria, the military spokesman said.

Egypt’s aviation minister said on Thursday that a “terrorist attack” was a more likely cause than technical failure for the plane’s disappearance from radar screens on a flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board.

But French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said there was “absolutely no indication” of why the flight came down.

“We’re looking at all possibilities, but none is being favoured over the others because we have absolutely no indication on the causes,” he told French television.

The tragedy raised fears of a repeat of the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by the Islamic State jihadist group over Egypt last October that killed all 224 people on board.

In Cairo, French and Airbus investigators prepared to meet their Egyptian counterparts on Friday to lay the groundwork for their investigation.

The plane disappeared between Karpathos and the Egyptian coast in the early hours of Thursday morning, without its crew sending a distress signal.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the aircraft had swerved sharply twice in Egyptian airspace before plunging 22,000 feet (6,700 metres) and disappearing from radar screens.

 

‘Intensified search’

Both Egypt and Greece dispatched aircraft and naval vessels on a search mission. They were expected to be joined by French teams, while the US sent a surveillance plane to help with the operation.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had demanded an “intensified search” for the aircraft after earlier reports by the airline that wreckage from the plane had been found were retracted.

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that it was clear the plane had crashed, and authorities in both Paris and Cairo opened investigations.

EgyptAir said 15 French citizens were among the 26 foreign passengers on the plane, who also included a Briton and at least one Canadian.

Both France and Egypt have come under attack by IS jihadists in the past year, and Hollande promised a comprehensive probe into the cause of the crash.

IS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces and last October claimed the bombing of the Russian airliner flying home holidaymakers from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

In the United States, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was “too early to definitively say what may have caused this disaster”.

The catastrophe also entered the US presidential election campaign, where national security is a prominent issue.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said it appeared to be “yet another terrorist attack,” adding “When will we get tough, smart and vigilant?”

His likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton agreed that it “does appear that it was an act of terrorism” and “once again shines a very bright light on the threats that we face from organised terror groups”.

 Pilot reported no problem

Greek civil aviation chief Constantinos Litzerakos said the pilot had mentioned no problem in his last communication before the plane disappeared, and the flight had not deviated from its course.

“The flight controllers contacted the pilot at a height of 37,000 feet (near Athens)… he did not mention a problem,” Litzerakos told Greece’s Antenna TV.

Neither the Greek coastguard nor the navy could confirm reports that a passing ship had seen “a ball of fire in the sky”.

The civil aviation chief said that if there had been an explosion, any debris would have been scattered across a wide area.

The passengers also included two Iraqis and one citizen from each of Algeria, Belgium, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, as well as 30 Egyptians, the airline said. They included a boy and two babies.

Seven crew members and three security personnel were also on board.

EgyptAir said the plane had been manufactured in 2003. Airbus said it had clocked up 48,000 flight hours.

EgyptAir hit the headlines in March when a flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to divert to Cyprus, where the hijacker, who was described as “unstable”, demanded to see his ex-wife.

Last October, foreign governments issued travel warnings for Egypt and demanded a review of security at its airports after IS downed the Russian airliner with what it said was a bomb concealed in a soda can that had been smuggled into the hold.

********

FRIDAY: 8am – Wreckage found is not of EgyptAir, search continues

AFP FILE PHOTO of an EgypAir plane
AFP FILE PHOTO of an EgypAir plane

Cairo, Egypt | AFP |

FRIDAY

Air-sea search intensifies for missing EgyptAir plane

A massive search was under way for an EgyptAir plane that disappeared over the Mediterranean with 66 people on board, with suspicions swiftly focusing on a terrorist motive.

Egypt’s aviation minister said that while it was too soon to say why the Airbus A320 flying from Paris to Cairo had vanished from radar screens, a “terrorist” attack would be a more likely scenario than a technical failure.

The tragedy raised fears of a repeat of the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group over Egypt last October that killed all 224 people on board.

The plane disappeared between the Greek islands and the Egyptian coast in the early hours of Thursday morning, without its crew sending a distress signal.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the aircraft had swerved sharply twice in Egyptian airspace before plunging 22,000 feet (6,700 metres) and disappearing from radar screens.

Both Egypt and Greece dispatched aircraft and naval vessels on a major search mission. They were expected to be joined by French teams, while the US sent a surveillance plane to help with the operation.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi demanded an “intensified search” for the aircraft after reports that wreckage from the plane had been found were retracted.

EgyptAir initially said on its Twitter account (SEE STORY BELOW) that the Egyptian authorities had recovered wreckage from the missing aircraft but the head of the Greek air safety authority told AFP that debris found close to the area where the jet went down did “not come from a plane”.

French President Francois Hollande said the plane had “crashed”, as authorities in both Paris and Cairo opened investigations.

Egypt’s Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said he was unable to “deny the hypothesis of a terrorist attack or something technical”.

The airline said 15 French citizens were among the 26 foreign passengers on the plane, who also included a Briton and at least one Canadian.

Both France and Egypt have come under attack by IS jihadists in the past year, and Hollande promised a comprehensive probe into the cause of the crash.

IS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces and last October claimed the bombing of the Russian airliner flying home holidaymakers from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

No distress call

In the United States, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said “it’s too early to definitively say what may have caused this disaster”.

The catastrophe also entered the US presidential election campaign, where national security is shaping up a prominent issue.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said it appeared to be “yet another terrorist attack,” adding “When will we get tough, smart and vigilant?”

His likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton agreed that it “does appear that it was an act of terrorism” and “once again shines a very bright light on the threats that we face from organised terror groups”.

A Greek aviation source said the flight had disappeared from Greek radar at around 0029 GMT.

“It crashed around 130 nautical miles off the island of Karpathos,” the source told AFP, referring to an island northeast of Crete.

Greek civil aviation chief Constantinos Litzerakos said the pilot had mentioned no problem in the last communication before the plane disappeared, and it had not deviated from its course.

“The flight controllers contacted the pilot at a height of 37,000 feet (near Athens)… he did not mention a problem,” Litzerakos told Greece’s Antenna TV.

Neither the Greek coastguard nor the navy could confirm reports that a passing ship had seen “a ball of fire in the sky”.

The civil aviation chief said if there had been an explosion, any debris would have been scattered across a wide area.

EgyptAir’s Adel also said there had been “no distress call” before the plane vanished.

Two babies

The passengers also included two Iraqis and one citizen from each of Algeria, Belgium, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, as well as 30 Egyptians, the airline said. They included a boy and two babies.

Seven crew members and three security men were also on board.

EgyptAir said the plane had been manufactured in 2003. Airbus said it had clocked up 48,000 flight hours.

EgyptAir hit the headlines in March when a flight from the coastal city of Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to divert to Cyprus, where the hijacker, who was described as “unstable”, demanded to see his ex-wife.

Last October, foreign governments issued travel warnings for Egypt and demanded a review of security at its airports after IS downed the Russian airliner with what it said was a bomb concealed in a soda can that had been smuggled into the hold.

*******

THURSDAY: Egyptair say they have found wreckage

Wreckage from an EgyptAir plane carrying 66 people that crashed Thursday in the Mediterranean has been found, the airline said, as investigators probed whether it was downed by a bomb.

Egypt’s aviation minister said that while it was too soon to say why the Airbus A320 flying from Paris to Cairo had vanished, “a terrorist” attack would be a more likely scenario than a technical failure.

The incident raised fears of a repeat of the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group over Egypt last October that killed all 224 people on board.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane had fallen 22,000 feet (6,700 metres) and swerved sharply twice in Egyptian airspace before it disappeared from radar screens.

“The Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation has just received an official letter from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that confirms the finding of wreckage of the missing aircraft No. MS 804,” it said in English on its Twitter account.

“The Egyptian Investigation Team in co-operation with the Greek counterpart are still searching for other remains of the missing plane,” it added.

The jet had been flying from Paris to Cairo overnight when it vanished, without sending a distress signal.

French President Francois Hollande said the plane had “crashed” as authorities in both Paris and Cairo opened investigations.

Egypt’s Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said he could not rule out either terrorism or a technical problem.

“I don’t deny the hypothesis of a terrorist attack or something technical. It is too early,” he said.

“The possibility of having a different action onboard, of having a terror attack, it is higher than the possibility of having a technical (failure)”.

Egypt and Greece both dispatched aircraft and naval vessels on a search mission and they were expected to be joined by French teams.

Fifteen French citizens were among the 26 foreign passengers on the EgyptAir flight, who also included a Briton and a Canadian.

Both France and Egypt have come under attack by IS jihadists in the past year and Hollande promised a comprehensive probe into the cause of the crash as suspicions swiftly focused on a bomb.

“Whether it was an accident or another hypothesis that everyone has on their mind — a terrorist hypothesis… at this stage we must focus on our solidarity with the families and the search for the causes of the catastrophe,” he said.

No distress call

IS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces and last October claimed the bombing of the Russian airliner flying home holidaymakers from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said “no theory can be ruled out” to explain the plane’s disappearance.

EgyptAir said contact was lost with the flight about 280 kilometres (175 miles) north of the Egyptian coast.

A Greek aviation source said the flight had disappeared from Greek radar at around 0029 GMT.

“It crashed around 130 nautical miles off the island of Karpathos,” the source told AFP, referring to an island northeast of Crete.

Greek civil aviation chief Constantinos Litzerakos said the pilot had mentioned no problem in the last communication before the plane disappeared, and it had not deviated from its course.

“The flight controllers contacted the pilot (with the plane) at a height of 37,000 feet (near Athens)… he did not mention a problem,” Litzerakos told Greece’s Antenna TV.

Neither the Greek coastguard nor the navy could confirm reports that a passing ship had seen “a ball of fire in the sky”.

The civil aviation chief said if there had been an explosion, any debris would have scattered across a wide area.

EgyptAir Holding Company vice president Ahmed Adel also said there had been “no distress call” before the plane vanished.

Two babies among passengers

The passengers also included two Iraqis and one citizen from each of Algeria, Belgium, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, as well as 30 Egyptians, the airline said. They included a boy and two babies.

Seven crew members and three security men were also on board.

EgyptAir said the plane had been manufactured in 2003. Airbus said it had clocked up 48,000 flight hours.

EgyptAir hit the headlines in March when a flight from the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to divert to Cyprus, where the hijacker, who was described as “unstable”, demanded to see his ex-wife.

He had claimed he was wearing an explosive vest, which turned out to be fake.

Last October, foreign governments issued travel warnings for Egypt and demanded a review of security at its airports after IS downed the Russian airliner with what it said was a bomb concealed in a soda can that had been smuggled into the hold.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *